Sabre Strike 17 Exercises Collective Defense


06/22/2017: Exercise Saber Strike 17 is a US Army Europe led multinational training exercise that is meant to build the interoperability of US forces and their NATO partners.



Video by Sgt. Samuel De Leon

100th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

WIESBADEN, Germany — Saber Strike 17 is this year’s iteration of a long-standing U.S. Army Europe-led cooperative training exercise. 

The key exercise objective will be training and exercising the NATO Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battle Groups with a focus on promoting interoperability with allies and regional partners and improving joint operational capability in a variety of missions. 

The exercise will take place in multiple locations throughout Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland May 28-June 24.

The Multinational Corps North East (MNC-NE) will be featured as a command and control element for multinational operations.

The eFP battle groups stationed in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland are part of the ongoing commitment by the U.S. and NATO allies and partners to deter aggression throughout Europe. 

Key training events of Saber Strike 17 will include: a convoy by Battle Group Poland from Orzysz, Poland, to southern Lithuania; a maritime prepositioned offload of pre-staged supplies and equipment in Latvia; a Marine amphibious assault in Latvia; two combined arms live fire exercises (one each in Poland and Lithuania); an air assault by the British Royal Marines at the Polish and Lithuanian border; and a river crossing in the same area.

The Saber Strike exercises help facilitate cooperation amongst the U.S., Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and our allied and partner nations. Nations participating in the exercise include Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The exercise will be held in multiple locations throughout Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

ADAZI MILITARY BASE, Latvia — Allied and partner nations have unfurled their flags for the opening ceremony of Exercise Saber Strike 17 on Adazi Military Base, Latvia, June 3, 2017.

The exercise began with Maritime Prepositioning Force operations, on May 22 and now transitions to combined live-fire exercises and field training exercises of the NATO Enhanced Forward Presence battlegroups.

Prior to the start of the exercise, various units from Marine Forces Reserve conducted in-stream and pier-side offloads of equipment from United States Naval Ship Sgt. William R. Button, a Maritime Prepositioning Ship.

Other equipment was also extracted from Norwegian caves as a part of the Marine Corps Prepositioning Program-Norway to support the execution of this year’s iteration.

Maj. Gen. Leonids Kalnins, chief of defense of Latvia, and Maj. Gen. Neal Loidolt, commanding general of the 34th Infantry Division, Minnesota Army National Guard, opened the ceremony with their statements. 

“I’m looking forward to the challenging, realistic, and successful exercise,” said Loidolt.

Both speakers emphasized the importance of strengthening each other’s capabilities, developing relationships and increasing readiness to deter any threat. 

Eight of the twenty countries participating in the exercise to include Latvia, the United Kingdom, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, and the United States, stood together in formation as their respective flags were raised. 

“Exercises like Saber Strike allow us to enhance our interoperability and set the conditions for future operations,” said Col. Matthew Puglisi, U.S. Marine Corps task-force commander for the exercise.

The exercise task-force command element is lead by Combat Logistics Regiment 45, 4th Marine Logistics Group, Marine Forces Reserve. This exercise demonstrates the capabilities that reserve units bring to the fight from both a logistical and ground-combat element perspective; MARFORRES Marines are seamlessly integrating and providing support to the Marines of the Black Sea Rotational Force 17.1. 

“This exercise for Marine Forces Reserve demonstrates our ability to be ready, relevant, and responsive pushing forward and projecting our combat power,” said Puglisi.

ADAZI MILITARY BASE, Latvia — Great Britain Royal Marine joint terminal attack controllers call in military aircraft during exercise Saber Strike 17 at Adazi Military Base, Latvia, June 5, 2017. During the exercise, U.S. and NATO JTACs controlled air strike operations with U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons, a B-52 Stratofortress, and a B-1B Lancer.

Saber Strike 17 highlights the inherent flexibility of ground and air forces to rapidly respond to crises allowing for the right presence where it is needed, when it is needed. (U.S Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tryphena Mayhugh)

RAF FAIRFORD, U.K. — Three B-52H Stratofortresses and Airmen from U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command began conducting missions in support of Saber Strike 17 at Royal Air Force Fairford, United Kingdom, June 5, 2017.

Saber Strike 17 is this year’s iteration of a long-standing U.S. Army Europe-led cooperative training exercise that takes place in multiple locations throughout Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland from May 28 to June 24.

“Our guys are pretty excited. Coming into this environment offers a setting that we’re not familiar with, prepping for the unknown,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Kimmie Samuel, 2nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron weapons section chief.

“The weather, rain, wind…this terrain is significantly different here versus back home.”

Saber Strike exercises help facilitate cooperation among NATO allies and partner nation focusing on promoting interoperability, and improving joint operational capability in a variety of missions.

“We’ll be working with BDU-50 inert munitions, concrete bombs which are general purpose unguided conventional weapons during this exercise,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Fleming Thompson, 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron wing weapons officer. “We’ll take them over to Tapa and work with NATO Joint Tactical Air Control and employ those in a joint environment.


The inclusion of bombers in this exercise has been long-planned and provides an opportunity for bomber crews to integrate and train with other U.S. European Command components, while exercising the U.S.’ key bomber capabilities.

“We need to demonstrate that we can operate out of here, and these are good exercises that get us flying,” said Thompson.

“They set a tempo. They set a bar out there for what they expect of us, and we try to get over the bar.”

Exercises such as Saber Strike provide vital opportunities, not only for multiple U.S. services to work together, but also for integrated, total force training with U.S. Reserve and Air National Guard units and our partner nations’ militaries to ensure interoperability.

This cohesive effort is the bedrock of our collective military capability.